gradCapital’s Associate program
My experience as a gC Associate
We recruit college students who can join us as VC associates once a year. It’s a fun job where you work with a diverse team from Stanford, IITs, DU and incredible founders who build future unicorns. But before you apply, I want to share a few things from my personal experience. Anyway you can apply by clicking on the button below.
Hello, I am Amrusha, and I am one of the leads of the associate program. Find the list of our current associates here. I was an associate before I took this position. I am an undergraduate student at NUS spending time at UC Berkeley.
Venture Capital. Management Consulting. Investment Banking. Product Management. You probably have these words circling around you while you are wondering what may be your best fit. While the other three might have a more traditional path to it, what makes Venture Capital interesting is that anyone can enter it at any time regardless of their background. Case in point, the GPs of gradCapital itself who went from hardcore research to starting a VC firm.
gradCapital was started to back daring student founders, be a deep part of their story, and build future companies. Out of $300B worth of unicorns, $90B+ is captured by students. Students are irrationally optimistic, creative and true hustlers and this fundamentally enables them to create future companies. Backing companies at an early stage, especially students, translates into supporting innovators, which requires more than just capital. In essence, we have to deeply appreciate the risk founders take when they start their own companies - and it should manifest in all of our actions. Thus, when the partners pondered about the best way to identify and reach out to these startups, the Associate programme was born. This structure is firmly based on the mantra of scouting and cultivating the startup ecosystem in colleges.
The gC team has a strong notion that there's no single route to Venture Capital. VCs come from different backgrounds, which adds to our understanding of diversity in markets and startups.
But this non-traditional path might also get confusing for students, I understand. How does one even break into VC? Or more importantly what is VC? At gradCapital, I was able to get the full 360* experience of an associate in venture capital - from sourcing all the way to closing the deal. Every startup I sourced happened to be from a different sector that I researched and learned more about. It’s never the same. As an Economics major who is low-key afraid of science, I dug deep into actual physical health-tech and learned the mechanics behind a deep-science startup all in a week. Sourcing and getting on calls with startups every week helped me open my eyes to the cool things people my age are doing right now, and also how to actually analyse startups and ask the right questions. The best part was, the higher-ups in gC actually take us associates seriously. You’re probably wondering why this is a big thing, but more often entry levels in VCs could go years before a deal they sourced actually goes through - due to lack of trust. But it was different in gC. Within minutes of posting my one-pager analysis on the Discord channel, it was read and I was asked to set up a second call with the founder. Even though the partners felt the startup wasn’t ready at that time, they still kept in constant touch. And then the good news rolled in that they were selected to go to the Investment Committee! I was so thrilled to have been able to work on the IC note with an amazingly experienced Venture Partner (thanks Sehj!) for a startup I sourced myself - my very own portfolio.
The experience of going through the entire investment cycle at gradCapital allowed me to get selected for a summer internship in a VC firm in Singapore (but predominantly invests in India). I realised how much better I understood the Indian startup space after gradCapital and that it helped me pass through the interview and make the actual job easier. Most importantly, after walking around like a clueless chicken, I realised I actually enjoy Venture Capital.
My other co-associates have gone on to do great things after gC and graduation such as starting up themselves or getting into McKinsey & Co., Bain & Company, Sequoia, Antler, Avendus Capital, JP Morgan IB, Nomura IB, etc. I still have some time left in university, so obviously I said yes when I was asked to come back to lead the associates.
On the outside, it sounds all glamorous, but gaining actual experience in a VC firm will allow you to see if this is for you or not. At gradCapital, we aren’t looking for you to do grunt research work, but bring us deals that you sourced yourself and can be proud of. Best part is, it’s all part-time, so you can figure it out while going through university and before getting into the infamous summer internship struggles.
As an Associate in gC, your primary role is to identify capable teams. This includes filtering and decision making mechanisms to determine the best hustling talent. Moreover, work with startups to understand their vision, mission, and operating model. You also have to think analytically, conduct research and work on Investment Committee Memos alongside Venture Partners such as Bhavik Kaul (CPO, PayU), Vidya Madhavan (Founder, Schmooze), Sehj Kashyap (Harvard Fellow) which will be read by top industry leaders. Furthermore, you can research and draw up Sector Theses with the guidance of gC partners, build and maintain a network of alumni, startups, and mentors, and also develop your business acumen through education and hands-on experience.
So, what are you waiting for?
I hope to meet you soon :)